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Observations and insights after Thursday’s press conference with the Dolphins three coordinators: Darren Rizzi (special teams), Clyde Christensen (offense) and Vance Joseph (defense).
• Rizzi is returning for his eighth season with the team; Christensen and Joseph were new hires by Coach Adam Gase. The general feeling you got was that all three feel fortunate to be working for Gase in particular and the Dolphins in general. There was a sense of real excitement and anticipation as each spoke. “This is as excited as I’ve been since I’ve been here,” said Rizzi.
• All three are spending these days evaluating the players on the current roster before moving on to free agency and other offseason upgrades. “You can’t miss on your own,” said Christensen. How right he is.
• Offer support for Gase, who needs a strong, experienced offensive coordinator given all the other responsibilities he will have as a head coach. Christensen clearly fits that description. “I had an awfully good job where I was,” Christensen said of his previous position with the Colts. “But this one really interested me.”
• And offer support for Tannehill who plays, what Christensen called, “a lonely position in this league.” He added: “My No. 1 responsibility is to be his ally and to provide a safe place, someone he can communicate with.”
• Christensen has worked closely with Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. That should get Tannehill’s attention in a hurry, don’t you think?
• Christensen likes an aggressive offense with a strong no-huddle element. “The players want to have fun,” he said. “That’s the way I like to play.”
• Joseph talks about Wade Phillips and Gary Kubiak as his mentors. “Both assured me a while ago that I was ready for this job,” he said. Meanwhile, last I checked, both will be coaching in the Super Bowl.
• Let there be no confusion. The Dolphins will run a 4-3 defense under Joseph.
• His basic philosophy? Build a defense with quality pass rushers and cornerbacks and you’re well on your way. “That’s the bottom line to playing great defense in this league,” he said.
• Joseph is looking forward to working with
• Run defense is also a priority. As it should be.
• Points allowed. Third down defense. Red zone defense. Turnovers forced. Overall yardage. Those are Joseph’s five key statistical categories. Looks like he’s got everything covered.
• And then there was Rizzi, back as assistant head coach and special teams coordinator. It says plenty about Gase that he chose to bring back nine assistants from the former staff. It says that he is comfortable in his own skin and that he also recognizes the importance of having some continuity despite the coaching change.
• Rizzi deserved to be back. He is among the top special teams coaches in the league, his special teams a year ago ranked in the Top 10 in five different categories. He will serve a valuable role at Gase’s side. “In many ways,” Rizzi said, “we have the same personality traits.”
• Summing up the coaching staff, Rizzi said: “The mix that Adam has put together is filled with quality people.”
• And now those quality people must mesh as one, creating the type of stable coaching environment that is so imperative in today’s NFL. Choosing these three coordinators was an important step in what promises to be a crucial offseason for this franchise.